Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970.

Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers will be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws
on official Fellowship publications and websites,
news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wiki project, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Fellowship of Friends' Apollo Arts seeks donations

[ed. - In this video, Ansley Braverman (wife of Asaf Braverman) invites the public to attend Apollo Arts summer performances, and appeals for donations. It must be remembered that The Fellowship of Friends, through tax-deductible "charitable donations," (a euphemism for mandatory payments from its membership) has lavished the cult's leader and his inner circle with a luxurious lifestyle few in Yuba County (or for that matter, almost anywhere) could imagine. It takes chutzpah for this organization to seek public donations to furnish Apollo Arts. From those who have traveled with him, it is well known that,
in a single day, Robert Burton can easily spend the $5,000 Apollo Arts is currently seeking. This is the same organization that has battled Yuba County over paying its share of taxes.

The Fellowship of Friends now sees crowdfunding as an opportunity to reach beyond the cult for donors. For a description of how Burton's own sheep are fleeced, see this post by Ames Gilbert.

Before we take too much pity on this humble acting troupe, let's look at an inventory of some of the real estate The Fellowship of Friends "church" owns. Keep in mind, the list below does not include assets such as the classical art collection, antique furnishings, jewelry, luxury cars, library collections, musical instruments, wine inventory, various vacation homes, off-shore bank accounts, investments, livestock, etc.]

"Mick Danger" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 22, 2008:
FOF owns 9 Parcels totaling 1,259 Acres Tax Value: $15,733,885

"Associated Press" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 22, 2008:

121. Mick Danger – August 21, 2008 [Above]

The Fellowship of Friends Inc. is listed as the owner of 9 parcels of land:

Tax Parcel 048-120-009; 159 Acres; Value $519,500
Tax Parcel 048-170-040; 224 Acres; Value $242,000
Tax Parcel 048-220-022; 60 Acres; Value $1,300,226
Tax Parcel 048-260-008; 3.1 Acres; Value $3,061,600
Tax Parcel 048-260-048; 76.5 Acres; Value $707,100
Tax Parcel 048-260-049; 3.3 Acres; Value $37,079
Tax Parcel 048-270-023; 473 Acres; Value $3,577,700
Tax Parcel 048-270-024; 5 Acres; Value $1,984
Tax Parcel 048-220-094; 256 Acres; Value $6,286,668

AG: Tax Parcel 048-260-053; 17 Acres; Value $420,642 [Abraham Goldman, Fellowship attorney]


This is good information and is a matter of public record from Yuba County. If you use the county website you can learn a limited amount; like Assessor’s Parcel Number, name of owner, valuations, acreage, what property consists of, possibly if taxes are paid or not, etc. But, it does not appear that you can learn addresses, phone numbers, or locations by parcel map.

More importantly perhaps, and also should be a matter of public record, is the recorded documents associated with the property. That would include things like legal descriptions, mortgages, debt recordings, liens, judgments, as well as deed restrictions, parcel maps, survey maps, etc. That information is usually available through a title report and can be obtained via a title company, for a fee, of course.

Some things may seem amazing. Like the valuations for several on the list; they seem a bit low. Also, does this say that there is assessed value of over $10 million for FoF property? And, is FoF exempt from paying property taxes as a non-profit religious organization?
[ed. - The following table is taken from a Yuba County Municipal Securities offering.]

[ed. - The Apollo Arts Facebook page states, "Nestled in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California, our mission is to present the finest works of the classical repertoire in opera, music theatre and dance to all audiences." The "all audiences" is a new formulation. (See below)

Another post states:
"...for the first time ever, we are opening our performances to the general public. Please help us stage these plays at the highest level possible with your donation."
For more on the subject, see: tax evasion. Also see "Friends of the Goethe Academy dba Apollo Arts" IRS Form 990-EZ]

"Old Coyote" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 6, 2009:
!$! Account Ability or The Ark will be rocked !$!

Fellowship of Friend$ Inc. was established with the IRS as a Public Charity, 501c3 in 1971. Due to its classification with the IRS as a Church it is not required to file a Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.

!$! !$!

Friend$ of the Goethe Academy was established with the IRS as a Public Charity in 1992. Each year it files Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. The IRS requires the exempt returns of public charities to be open for disclosure [previous 3 years] and available for public perusal.

On Form 990 2007 Page 3, Part III in response to the question,

“What is the organization’s primary exempt purpose?” :

“Our mission is to present the finest works of the classical repertoire in opera, music theatre, and dance to audiences in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California” [ed. - Bolds added. Essentially, Fellowship members were the only "audiences in the Sierra Foothills."]

Friends of the Goethe Academy Form 990 for years 2006, 2007, and Form 990-EZ for the 2008 year may be viewed online at:

On the 2008 Form 990-EZ for the Academy the figures for gifts, grants, and contributions are combined with membership fees. Total amount: $ 51,757. The gross receipts from admissions, merchandise sold, or services performed (program service revenue) total amount was $ 114,829.

For the years 2002 – 2007 the Academy filed the more informative Form 990. The public support for the Academy is broken down into three parts: gifts, grants, contributions (GGC) and membership fees (MF), and Program service revenue; gross receipts from admissions, merchandise sold, or services performed (GR)


2007 $ 9,974* $ 60,358 $ 87,828
2006 $ 30,484 $ 29,994 $ 206,998
2005 $ 29,994 $ 63,207 $ 279,451
2004 $ 51,354 $ 41,304 $ 206,855
2003 $129,185 $ 33,938 $ 202,973
2002 $ 41,872 $ 11,875 $ 173,695

The source for the above information, years 2002 -2005, is page 4, Schedule A of the Form 990 filed in 2006 and 2007.

* In 2007 there was no figure filed under gifts, grants, and contributions. The $ 9,974 figure was actually filed under ‘direct public support.’

The total program service revenue, that is gross receipts from admissions, merchandise sold, or services performed for the years 2002 -2008 was $ 1,272,629; pretty good revenue for 12 or so classical concerts and recitals, a few plays, and a ballet or two a year, don’t you think? Program, t-shirt, wine and dessert sales?

See Form 990 2006 Page 3, Part III,

Statement of Program Accomplishments:

Classical Music Concerts: 13 Orchestral and Soloist Events
Total Attendance 3358
Ballet Performances ??? Ballets Total Attendance 7574
Theater Performances 3 Plays
Total Attendance 6570
2006 Program Service Expenses:
Music: $ 41,942
Ballets: $ 21,792
Theater: $ 1,502

!$! !$!

Think the old IRS should check the old dog pen out?

How ’bout how all these various entities hook up and support each other? Ya got yer Fellow Ship, ya got yer Vino-Garden, and ya got yer Academy of Fine Music and Dance Hall.

Folks, ya gotta wonder, huh ?!$!

Old Coyote Know$

!$! !$!

Write the old IR$ at their department that classifies

Exempt Organizations:

4910 DAL
1100 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75242-1198

$top yer whinin’ ya’ll, and $end in yer $uspician$ and complaint!$!

1 comment:

  1. The young lady requests donations for costumes... but the video shows a plethora of costumes appropriate for the plays... odd. Along with Ainsley, her husband (and perhaps heir to the Fellowship of Friends throne) Asaf Braverman is seen acting as well, about 1 minute 30 seconds into the video. Is that young Goldman rehearsing for the role of Romeo?